Dow to retrofit cracker with fluidized catalytic dehydrogenation technology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- As part of the Company’s current slate of low capital intensity, high-return incremental growth investments, Dow announced it will retrofit proprietary fluidized catalytic dehydrogenation (FCDh) technology into one of its mixed-feed crackers in Plaquemine, Louisiana, to produce on-purpose propylene, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The retrofit will enable Dow to continue to meet growing demand for its businesses serving consumer, infrastructure and packaging end-markets, while also remaining within its stated near-term capital expenditure targets.

In 2016, Dow expanded the ethylene capacity of this same cracker by more than 225,000 metric tons and added the ability to crack ethane, while maintaining the flexibility to crack propane, butane and naphtha.

Dow and other US cracker operators are consuming more ethane instead of heavier feed slates, resulting in a reduction of coproduct production, including propylene. This reduction in propylene has created a supply/demand gap in the US that requires additional on-purpose propylene sources to meet the needs of downstream derivatives.

The FCDh technology retrofit further improves Dow’s ability to continue to source the most advantaged feedstocks, while also producing reliable and cost-efficient on-purpose propylene to supply its integrated derivative units in Louisiana. The technology can also reduce capital outlay by up to 25 percent and lower energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20 percent, thereby improving overall sustainability when compared to conventional propane dehydrogenation technologies.

The retrofit will enable production of more than 100,000 metric tons of additional on-purpose propylene at full run-rate, further back-integrating Dow’s derivative facilities to cost-advantaged propylene while also maintaining the unit’s current ethylene production capacity. The project is expected to begin producing on-purpose propylene by the end of 2021.

"Deploying FCDh technology supports Dow’s continued focus on delivering low-risk, low-cost and high-return projects while reducing the energy intensity and carbon footprint associated with conventional technologies,” said Keith Cleason, vice president of Dow’s Olefins, Aromatics & Alternatives business. “Retrofitting our Plaquemine cracker will enhance asset utilization and leverage the U.S. shale gas advantage to meet growing customer demand for Dow’s differentiated polyolefins products."

Dow’s licensable FCDh technology won R&D100 and ICIS Process Technology Innovation awards in 2017. It is one of the most economical propane dehydrogenation (PDH) technologies available today. It can be used to construct a stand-alone PDH facility or can be integrated with existing crackers to provide ‘plug and play’ capabilities for a variety of plant configurations.

In July, PetroLogistics ll LLC announced it had licensed Dow’s proprietary FCDh technology for a new stand-alone PDH facility it plans to construct on the US Gulf Coast.

"Adaptable FCDh technology demonstrates the combined power of Dow’s innovation and integration to create breakthrough solutions," said A.N. Sreeram, senior vice president, Research & Development, and chief technology officer for Dow. "Dow’s advanced FCDh technology is flexible, scalable, reliable and more sustainable, allowing for use in multiple configurations in a range of capacities - stand alone or integrated into crackers."

As MRC informed earlier, in June 2018, Dow announced its plan to invest in an alkoxylation facility on the US Gulf Coast. Upon completion, this new facility will support global growth in Dow’s core end-markets related to infrastructure and home and personal care, as well as additional end-markets where Dow continues to strengthen its position for the TRITON, TERGITOL, ECOSURF and CARBOWAX SENTRY brands.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.

Alpla teams up with Henkel in USD100m expansion

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Blow moulder Alpla Inc. is working with consumer products maker Henkel to spend more than USD100m (EUR90m) to expand and improve operations at a laundry products plant in Kentucky, said the company.

Alpla will invest in infrastructure and equipment for a new bottle production area at Henkel's Bowling Green, Kentucky, campus. Dusseldorf, Germany-based Henkel owns a wide variety of well-known brands, including Persil, Purex and All laundry detergents as well as Snuggle fabric softeners, Dial soaps and Right Guard deodorants and antiperspirants.

The total value of the work, which will increase capacity and efficiency as well as cut energy costs, is more than USD130m (EUR117m), the companies said. The new packaging operation will total more than 170,000 square feet and be operated by Alpla. The packaging company will hire and manage employees at the on-site blow moulding facility.

Henkel operates its largest laundry products plant in the South Central Kentucky Industrial Park, measuring more than 2 million square feet. That's about the size of 40 football fields, the company said.

Henkel already has spent more than USD100m (EUR90m) on improvements at the Bowling Green facility, which is 25 years old. The added investment for Henkel will include improve infrastructure, equipment and information technology, or IT, systems.

"While these packaging operations will be handled by a trusted supplier with expertise in this area, Henkel will focus on its core expertise of manufacturing and marketing," Dirk Holbach, a senior vice president at Henkel, said in a statement.

Alpla said the new project in Bowling Green expands its 34-year global partnership with Henkel. The companies expect the new bottle-making operation to begin production in the middle of next year. The new project is expected to add 60 new workers for Alpla.

"Beyond Henkel's direct employment contribution and community service efforts, the investment partnership with Alpla is a prime example of how the company's supplier network, especially within the transportation and packaging sectors, further magnifies their economic impact locally," Chamber CEO Ron Bunch said in a statement.

Alpla first arrived in Bowling Green in 2013 when the company spent more than USD20m (EUR18m) to open a blow moulding plant for Sun Products Corp., a maker of laundry detergent that Henkel subsequently acquired.

Alpla Inc. is a member of Hard, Austria-based Alpla-Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co. KG, which has more than 20,000 employees at 178 manufacturing sites in 46 countries.

Alpla makes bottles, closures, moulded parts and packaging systems. The company ranks No 5 among North American blow moulders, with estimated blow moulding sales in the region of USD1.1bn (EUR990m), according to Plastics News data.

Nouryon adding metal alkyls capacity in Rotterdam

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nouryon has made a series of investments at its metal alkyls plant in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to improve efficiency and increase capacity, said Plasticseurope.

The investment includes automating raw material handling, improving overall efficiency and safety at the site by reducing potential exposure risks, Nouryon announced 21 Aug without giving the financial details of the project.

“The Rotterdam plant has increased production capacity by more than 40% in the last three years, and this latest investment series positions us for sustained growth,” said Jeroen Jungschlager, Rotterdam plant manager.

“It will enable us to move greater volumes with improved reliability and consistency to our customers.”

Organometallics such as metal alkyls are used as co-catalysts in olefin polymerisation processes and are used to produce polyethylene, polypropylene and certain types of synthetic rubber.

Nouryon expects the upgrades to enable it to meet the growing demand from customers in the polymer industry and improve supply reliability in Europe.

The former AkzoNobel speciality chemicals business has strengthened its position in metal alkyls with the recent acquisition of Zhejiang Friend Chemical Co.

The company is the largest Chinese producer of triethyl aluminium (TEAL) – a metal alkyl used in the production of high-volume polymers, including polypropylene and polyethylene.

Indorama pledges USD1bn investment in PET recycling

MOSCOW (MRC) -- With an ever-growing demand for recycled-content packaging from consumer product brand owners, the world's largest PET maker is investing at least USD1bn (EUR900m) to meet that upcoming need, said Reuters.

Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. has established what it calls a separate vertical within the company's structure to combine all the company's recycling assets.

"And we've allocated a budget of USD1bn (EUR900m) to recycling so that by 2025, when the brand owners want 25% content in packaging, ILV will be able to deliver," CEO Aloke Lohia said on a recent quarterly conference call. "IVL is the largest PET company in the world. So all the brand owners are talking to us on whether we understand the importance."

"They're wanting to keep PET as a main packaging choice. We also see more plastic packaging diverting towards PET packaging. So that is good news for us. We just have to ensure that we can deliver 25% recycling content," Lohia said.

Along with the USD1bn (EUR900m) total mentioned on the conference call, the CEO told Reuters the company plans an additional USD500m (EUR451m) investment to help its customers meet 25% recycled content rate. News of Indorama's bigger push into recycling comes at a time when chemical and virgin resin companies increasingly look to get involved in that segment of the market.

Pressure from both governments and consumers are causing these large firms to take a more holistic view of market. Indorama, just earlier this year, purchased a PET recycling facility in Athens, Alabama, from Custom Polymers PET LLC. That location has a capacity to reprocess about 34,000 tonnes of material each year. The acquisition joined existing Indorama recycling facilities in Mexico, Thailand and Europe.

The company viewed acquiring the Alabama site as a launching point for its deeper involvement in recycling. Indorama is known as a virgin PET maker, but Lohia believes embracing recycling will not harm that portion of the business. That's because the move will increase the company's profile as demand for recycled-content packaging grows.

"It does not disrupt anything at the IVL front. Actually, it helps IVL gain more recognition and improve its profitability," he said on the conference call. Lohia believes container deposit rules will "become much more viable globally" and increase the number of bottles collected for recycling. That will help push recycling rates higher and provide more material for new packaging.

Indorama, based in Bangkok, Thailand, makes both feedstocks for PET and PET resin itself. The company also makes fibres as well as packaging, including preforms, bottles and closures. The company began in 1994 as the first worsted wool yarn producer in Thailand. That business, still operating, now is a niche for the plastics giant.

Indorama also recently announced the purchase of the chemical intermediates and surfactants of Huntsman Corp. in a USD2bn (EUR1.8bn) deal. The company expects to be "quiet" during the next 18 months — except for recycling assets — in terms of future acquisitions as it digests the Huntsman deal. "We'll be concentrating on M&As revolving the recycling space," Lohia said on the call.

No. 1 LDPE plant completes brief maintenance by Sinopec Yanshan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical (part of Sinopec) has restarted its No. 1 low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in Beijing, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company has resumed operations at the plant on August 19, 2019. The plant was shut for maintenance on July 29, 2019.

Located in Beijing, China, the plant No. 1 LDPE plant has a production capacity of 70,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical restarted its No. 2 LDPE plant in Beijing on April 14, 2019. The plant was shut for maintenance on March 19, 2019. Located in Beijing, China, the plant No. 2 LDPE plant has a production capacity of 70,000 mt/year.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation or Sinopec Limited is a Chinese oil and gas company based in Beijing, China. Sinopec's business includes oil and gas exploration, refining, and marketing; production and sales of petrochemicals, chemical fibers, chemical fertilizers, and other chemical products; storage and pipeline transportation of crude oil and natural gas; import, export and import/export agency business of crude oil, natural gas, refined oil products, petrochemicals, and other chemicals.